In preparation for our Sexpectations conference coming up this month, our April blogs will be focused around different stages and phases of healthy sexuality.
Newlywed sex. This is an exciting, passionate, intimate adventurous season of sexual exploration and freedom. During this time in our marriage, sexual experiences are often an extension of our passionate love and growing intimacy. When we are newly married, passion kindles without much effort. Even the subtlest glance could ignite intense desire.
Married sex. Lack of arousal and intimacy is normal as we grow deeper in our marriage. The daily responsibilities of life weigh on us and compete for our attention. Bills need to be paid. Dinner needs to get on the table. The laundry doesn’t do itself. Got kids? Forget it! Those little people suck up a lot of precious energy! Remember that subtle glance that I referred to earlier? That same glance that could once ignite passion like flint in the beginning, might now translate to “The dog needs a walk…NOW!”
When we discuss the idea of “keeping the spark” alive in our sex life, lighting the fire goes way beyond the physical act of sexual intercourse. In any relationship, there are seasons or stages, and a marriage is no exception. Though it’s important to recognize that your love life will change over time, there’s a lot you can do to maintain that spark. Whether your sex life has become stale (Wolfgang Puck’s best meal served 10,00 times in a row is bound to get boring), your intimate connection has been interrupted by life, or you are feeling burdened by sex, keep this simple acrostic in mind to improve your connection and spice things up!
S: Start Small
Rather than first focusing on rekindling passion in the bedroom, try just expressing affection and increasing touch outside the bedroom! Give one another lots of compliments, offer small acts of service, and send sizzling text messages! Give warm hugs upon returning home. Hold hands when you are talking together. Sit closer on the couch when you watch television. Try making out like you did when you were dating! As a couple gives and receives affection throughout the day, these smaller moments build closeness that translates into increased sexual connection and passionate lovemaking.
The biggest difference between newlywed and married sex is spontaneity. It doesn’t sound romantic, but when you are married and raising children, scheduling sex may be the best way to sustain the sexual momentum. Physical intimacy requires effort when you are paying bills and picking up the dog poop. It helps a couple to be aware of one another’s rhythms: when each partner feels most sexual and has the most energy. Discuss this and put a date and time for sex in your calendar. If lovemaking it isn’t a priority, it won’t happen.
Intimacy is created on so many different levels, but the bottom line is that intimacy comes down to “availability” – mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical availability. Energy drained on other pursuits makes one less available to the sexual relationship. Dwelling on shopping lists and chores crushes desire. Dr. Douglas Rosenau, author of A Celebration of Sex for Newlyweds, says “There is no replacement for what God intended sex to do for intimate marriages. It is the framework for expressing many powerful and exciting emotions such as joy, love, trust, and playfulness.” It is also a time to show our deep affection, gratitude and vulnerability to our partner. If we are not intentionally available to our spouse throughout the day, vulnerability and sexuality and get walled off and we start just going through the motions.
Great sex starts with good communication. Sexual fulfillment emerges with self-awareness. Do you accept your physical body? Do you know what increases your arousal? Are you aware of what you don’t like in the bedroom? What are you both comfortable doing and what are you more hesitant about? The more self-aware each partner is, the more likely mutual understanding will flourish. The result? Higher sexual satisfaction and sensual curiosity because the lines of communication are open and you both can try new things!
Sex is a gift from God. God created it. Explore the fullness of it. Pray for sexual intimacy with your spouse. Find out what your partner wants during sex, and then give it. Figure out what turns you on and then tell your spouse you want it! Reciprocity is key, but also self-awareness. Always be learning about yourself and your partner. Weave novelty into your lovemaking repertoire. Keep it playful.
According to Dr. Cliff and Joyce Penner, our valued guests next week, “sex was created by God for the enjoyment of a man and woman in marriage. It’s supposed to be fun – so enjoy it!” Need additional support? Contact me today to get the private help you need to sustain the sexual sizzle in your marriage.